Chrysler Film Festival Goes Online

  |  June 6, 2003   |  Comments

The automaker takes its million-dollar film festival sponsorship tothe Web.

Chrysler took its second annual sponsorship of the Million Dollar Film Festival online Friday, with the Web debut of the ten contest finalists' short films -- all of which feature either the 2004 Chrysler Pacifica or the 2004 Chrysler Crossfire, or both.

The film festival marketing effort is a cross between BMW's successful campaign, and Project Greenlight, an HBO project that sought to uncover new filmmaking talent. It takes the online element and the appearance of its cars in the films from BMW, and marries it with the contest element of Project Greenlight. The company has reportedly also been trying to add a reality TV element to the event, by producing a limited-run television program about the competition's final stages.

With the debut of the films online, Chrysler is hoping to attract people to its Web site for the festival, at, and entice them to vote for their favorite film between now and August 3. When the votes are tallied, the winning film will receive the "Viewer's Choice Award," and one voter, chosen at random, will get a trip for two to Los Angeles to meet the filmmakers and tour Universal Studios.

The online voting is just part of Chrysler's sponsorship of the film festival, which it has been involved with since 2002. Entertainment company Hypnotic actually produces the contest, with the involvement of Universal Pictures, New York-based Arnell Group, and BBDO Detroit. Although ten films are showcased on the Web site, the field has already been narrowed down to five at a New York premiere last month. That premiere took place after a ten-day production contest, during which each filmmaker had to cast, shoot, edit, and premiere a five-minute film. The productions created during those ten days are the ones that appear on the Web site.

In the next stage of the competition, the five finalists will live together in Los Angeles, while they each develop plans for a feature film production, including a script, a proposed cast, a shooting schedule, a budget, a movie poster, and one fully produced scene from the script. They'll pitch that package to a judging panel in Toronto in September, where a winner will be chosen. The prize is a million-dollar feature deal.

The Chrysler Group, a division of DaimlerChrysler, is leaning heavily on marketing to boost its disappointing financial situation. Earlier this week it revised downward its forecasts for 2003, saying that the incentives necessary to compete in the North American market would likely result in an operating loss for second quarter.

Earlier this week, Chrysler said it would spend $100 million over the summer in a "Summer Sales Drive" marketing and promotion campaign, which will feature new television ads, radio spots, a print campaign, and Web promotions.


Pamela Parker

Pamela Parker is a former managing editor of ClickZ News, Features, and Experts. She's been covering interactive advertising and marketing since the boom days of 1999, chronicling the dot-com crash and the subsequent rise of the medium. Before working at ClickZ, Parker was associate editor at @NY, a pioneering Web site and e-mail newsletter covering New York new media start-ups. Parker received a master's degree in journalism, with a concentration in new media, from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.

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